Enchantment by Orson Scott Card (1999)
Updated: Jul 10
A fast-paced, time-travelling retelling of Sleeping Beauty.
Ivan is a Russian emigrant living in America. His doctoral research into Russian folklore takes him back to his native homeland where a fantastical encounter with a sleeping princess plunges him into a real-life fairy tale.
Ivan might have his beautiful princess, but it’s going to be a long hard journey to reach any kind of a happy ending. His crown princess isn’t sure he’s cut out to be a future king, and neither does anyone else. What does a 20th-century academic know about sword wielding and leading his people into battle? And to make make matters worse, the vilest and cruellest of witches — Baba Yaga herself — seems determined to kill him in the nastiest way possible, and anyone else who gets in her way.
I enjoyed this mix of Russian fairy tales. Ivan is a very likeable young man. Themes of identity, the infallibility of history, the shift from Russian paganism to religious orthodoxy all add to the layers of the novel. There’s lots of wry humour, and an unfolding love story is at the heart of it all.
In terms of content, I would rate this as being a mature YA or a NA novel.